People’s Parliament Peace Tax Bill consultation

by Campaign ~ February 12th, 2015. Filed under: News.
Conscience's Communications Assistant Zaheer Rayasat with Sir Richard Jolly.

Conscience’s Communications Assistant Zaheer Rayasat with Sir Richard Jolly.

Last night, Conscience was proud to launch the consultation of its Peace Tax Bill in Parliament. The event was a great success. The committee room filled to capacity with over 60 people in the audience. Speakers on the panel were Shahrar Ali, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, Richard Reeve of the Oxford research Group, Sir Richard Jolly, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Shaughan Dolan, Campaigns Manager for Conscience.

The event was held at the People’s Parliament, hosted by Labour MP John McDonnell, a series of events designed to liven up debate in the run up to the election in May. After a brief introduction by John McDonnell, Richard Reeve was our first speaker. An academic, Richard provided the hard figures on the split in funding between defence, overseas spending, diplomacy, development and military. The 75% military portion of that spending has remained largely static.

After an impassioned rejection of militarism and criticism of the government’s decision to continue to fund Trident, Shahrar Ali handed over to Shaughan. Shaughan pointed out that prevention is always better than cure and that this model could be applied to near any problem in existence whether it is disease, poverty or war.

The final speaker was Sir Richard Jolly who asked the audience the question, “how many countries in the world do you think don’t have an army?” One audience member said one, another answered five. Costa Rica and Lichtenstein were mentioned. To everyone’s surprise, Sir Richard said that there were 23 countries around the world that do not have an army.

Conscience appreciated contributions from Jeremy Corbyn MP and Lord Phillips of Sudbury give contributions from the floor during the Q&A session.

With a packed house, attendees from all across the UK, distinguished speakers and a powerful case for the advantages of alternatives to military security, Conscience was proud to be able be holding this event in Parliament. With the election on its way, we were glad to have such powerful voices of reason for making peacebuilding the issue of 2015.

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